When I was 9, my friend Devon showed me an intriguing game called Ouija. This game, she claimed, could tell the future. Just put your fingers on a triangular plastic playing piece and ask it a question, and the piece would magically move, spelling out the answer using the letters of the alphabet on the board. But the game wasn’t working quite right, explained Devon, as it had forgotten how to spell and could answer only yes or no questions. At the bottom of the board was the word “Goodbye.” The “game” did indeed seem to have inside information, but I had no idea what kind of fire I was playing with.
My intrigue with future knowledge continued when, a few years later, I met a palm reader at a county fair who studied my 12-year-old hand and solemnly said that someone would really break my heart. As a young teen I started reading horoscopes, until I realized there was a much better way to live my life.
Apparently I am not alone in seeking to know the future. In just the past three years fortunetellers around the world have seen an enormous increase in business. In their article “Fortunetelling Booming Business in Japan” authors Takeshi Watannabe and Catherine Makino1 noted that the Japanese are spending more than $11.8 million a year on fortunetelling. “People are anxious about uncertainty and the future and go to fortunetellers to seek some clarification, a prediction from which they can gain some sort of solace,” says Jeff Kingston, a researcher cited in the article.
As Italy has spiraled into its worst recession since World War II, Italians have fled to fortunetellers for financial advice, spending a staggering US$7.8 billion per year.2
In the United States, Lydia Solini, a licensed astrologer in South Burlington, Vermont, says that recently her business has shot up by 30 percent. People are “frightened about how things are going to turn out with the economic downturn,” said Solini. It seems the rising numbers of people turning to those with psychic abilities is a sign, for some, of desperate times. “People are searching for real answers,” she said.3
Why do people want to know their future? “To get a sense of stability,” wrote one respondent on a Yahoo discussion board. “I hate not knowing what to expect.” “When you know your future, you have more control in your destiny,” wrote another. “It gives them hope. A lot of people are not satisfied with their current situation.”
It doesn’t take a psychic to see that around the world there is a growing sense of unease, of people looking, searching for a glimpse of hope in the future.
What a perfect time to give them what they are looking for! Rather than spending billions of dollars on soothsayers, all they (and we) need to do is open the book we’ve been given—The Great Controversy—and see the past and future portrayed with stunning accuracy. Rather than being offended, many will thank you for your gift. (Have you ever been offended by someone giving you a book, even one you might not agree with?)
Millions of Seventh-day Adventists around the world (many of whom are under the age of 35) are already sharing a special edition of this book, titled The Great Hope, containing 11 chapters taken from The Great Controversy. Others are choosing to share the full version.
Since many find the more formal language of the original Great Controversy distracting, my favorite edition to share is Love Under Fire, an abridged adaptation of the book using today’s English, published specifically to reach a younger audience.
So here’s the challenge: Millions of people are seriously concerned about the future and searching for real answers—how many of them do I seriously care enough about to share a reliable vision of the future with? Five? Ten? A hundred? A thousand?
The amazing message of The Great Controversy is this: There is a real God and a real Satan—they both want you for eternity. Read both game plans in this book and decide whose side you want to be on. By the way, only one side wins, and this book will tell you who and tell you how.
1 Majirox News, Oct. 23, 2010, available online at www.majiroxnews.com/2010/10/23/fortunetelling/.
2 The London Telegraph, Feb. 7, 2010.
3 Fox News 44 online, Wilmington, Vermont, Apr. 1, 2009.
Gina Wahlen is assistant to the editor for the Adventist Review. This article was published April 19, 2012.